AUSTRALIA


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Our first female High Court chief justice is first class

10 Comments
29 November 2016 | Moira Rayner

Susan KiefelSo the High Court finally has its first woman chief justice. Mainstream media have seized upon this as a remarkable achievement for the legal profession and as 'a fair go' for the empowered woman of 2016. Kiefel's attainment of her highest goal should be recognised as no such lesser win. It is right and proper recognition of the suitability of a solidly trained and experienced lawyer, and the product of this individual human being's commitment to the law and its customs, protocols and conventions.


Public health solutions to managing HIV

2 Comments
28 November 2016 | Kate Galloway

World AIDS Day promo imageEarlier this year, a Queensland man was found not guilty of intentionally infecting his former girlfriend with HIV. The case was sent back to the District Court to determine a sentence for the lesser charge of grievous bodily harm. At the time of the decision, the not-guilty finding was both welcomed by advocates who see criminal prosecution as reflecting the stigma of the condition, and criticised by others who consider the criminal law an appropriate sanction for harm caused.


The unique labour conditions of millennials

11 Comments
27 November 2016 | Sonia Nair

Millennials in the workplaceBelonging to a generation where I was constantly told I could do anything I set my mind to, I was carted off to every class imaginable as a young child - art class, violin class, music theory class, English literature tutoring and so forth. But the advent of unparalleled choices that was constantly peddled to me did not coincide with an increase in the spaces that are available for young people to excel, or much less be employed, in the fields of their choice.


Question your motives when appropriating minority voices

9 Comments
24 November 2016 | Neve Mahoney

Maxine Beneba ClarkeIn a utopian world, free of racism and bigotry, there would be no problem with writers having complete artistic freedom. It becomes a problem when, for example, a white author takes the experiences of a Ugandan woman and writes a novel that becomes an acclaimed bestseller, while writers of colour struggle to get published and have their own stories told. This is white privilege at its finest. Morally, should the privileged be able to profit from the experiences and oppression of another culture?


Rethinking care work key to closing gender pay gap

2 Comments
24 November 2016 | Kate Galloway

Cartoon by Chris JohnstonCivil society requires care work. All of us, at various stages of our lives, will be dependent on others for our daily needs. Most of us will likewise care for others at some point. The challenge is how to allocate caring responsibilities throughout society, while allowing also for the paid work that secures economic independence. At the moment the tacit expectation that women will do unpaid care work - and that men (theoretically) are unburdened by care work - contributes to economic inequality.


We are links in the chain of asylum seeker cruelty

18 Comments
17 November 2016 | Rod Grant

Cartoon by Chris JohnstonHaving a sense of something as right or wrong, good or bad, is the essence of humanity. We get it from home, from education, religion, friends, the media. It's the sniff test or the pub test or the gut feeling or the Bible or Quran or Torah. We all have it. And just as people have a sense of right and wrong, we also have a very good humbug detector, and it's clanging loudly when politicians unctuously claim all their 'stop the boats' strategies are driven by desire to prevent drownings at sea.


Pathways to real jobs in a changing work landscape

5 Comments
17 November 2016 | Kasy Chambers

Corey FredricksonCorey has received housing through a St Vincent de Paul's refuge in Canberra and food assistance through Anglicare. Corey did not complete year ten, and has had a number of odd jobs since leaving school. Corey is passionate about gaming, and will often spend hours on the computer, filling in time after losing his job recently. He says he would love to do some training in gaming, but that his Job Network provider didn't have the money to support him in such training.


Islamophobic racism is a blunt weapon

7 Comments
14 November 2016 | Rachel Woodlock

Face plastered with Islamophobic labelsIt is an enduring personal tragedy that I can never think of 'zinger' responses to hurled insults until having turned them over in my mind for some time. The white male hoon in his 20-year-old unroadworthy car has long-since roared away from the traffic lights after shouting some unremarkable and unoriginal statement: 'Go back to where you came from you [expletive] terrorist.' Kilometres later I'm ready to shout out: 'I would, but Doncaster East is becoming way too pricey for the likes of me.'


Solidarity and self-interest in the future of unionism

7 Comments
13 November 2016 | Tim Lyons

Workers hands unite into one large fistJust as the 'wealth management' industry is based on the lie that anyone can be wealthy if they are prepared to take enough individual risk, the modern lie about work is that your place depends on vicious competition with those around you. This sort of sociopathic individualism denies the collective project, where even the team resembles more a gangster faction than a collective. Success is said to be a function of your own efforts, rendering solidarity not just foreign but inimical to your interests.


Five reasons to welcome US Manus deal

12 Comments
13 November 2016 | Frank Brennan

Manus IslandThe government has struck a deal with the USA which provides hope at last for the 1600 proven refugees on Manus and Nauru. There's still a lot of work to be done before these refugees can get on with their lives after three years of hopeless agony. Gone are the days of presuming that those who arrive without visas are in direct flight from persecution. Gone are the days when they get first option on the available humanitarian places. I welcome the government's decision, and await the detail.


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